Thursday, June 24, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Riley's Lock Herons

Profile of the Night Heron
By Anne Pierson Wiese

In the Brooklyn Botanic Garden the night
heron is on his branch of his tree, blue
moon curve of his body riding low
above the pond, leaves dipping into water
beneath him, green and loose as fingers.
On the far shore, the ibis is where
I left him last time, a black cypher
on his rock. These birds, they go to the right
place every day until they die.

There are people like that in the city,
with signature hats or empty attaché cases,
expressions of private absorption fending
off comment, who attach to physical
locations—a storefront, a stoop, a corner,
a bench—and appear there daily as if for a job.
They negotiate themselves into the pattern
of place, perhaps wiping windows, badly,
for a few bucks, clearing the stoop of take-out
menus every morning, collecting the trash
at the base of the walk/don’t walk sign
and depositing it in the garbage can.

Even when surfaces change, when the Mom & Pop
store becomes a coffee bar, when the park
benches are replaced with dainty chairs and a pebble
border, they stay, noticing what will never change:
the heartprick of longitude and latitude
to home in on, the conviction that life
depends, every day, on what outlasts you.

-------- 

The highlight of my Wednesday was talking to 2/3 of my regular high school friend lunch group (the third is at the beach with her family), with guest appearances by one of each of their kids. It was otherwise a chore day: work, laundry, dropping off the car for regular service, taking returns to UPS, and eventually a walk at Locust Grove where we saw frogs and enjoyed the woods. It was a gorgeous day but our neighbors were having a tree chopped and chipped, so it was very noisy. 

We had Beyond Burgers for dinner before this week's Loki episode "Lamentis" which I loved in every way -- I'm going to think of it as the installment that finally, unequivocally gave us a major queer character in the MCU, which is glorious, but it's also the Snowpiercer episode with the Indiana Jones "no ticket" scene, beautifully lit and visually spectacular, with Loki singing folk songs. Another! Here are some of the great blue and black-crowned night herons we saw at the canal last Saturday: 

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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Poem for Wednesday, Blue Jay and Flicker

The Dragon Of The Black Pool
By Bai Juyi
Translated by Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng

Deep the waters of the Black Pool, colored like ink;
They say a Holy Dragon lives there, whom men have never seen.
Beside the Pool they have built a shrine; the authorities
have established a ritual;
A dragon by itself remains a dragon, but men can make it a god.
Prosperity and disaster, rain and drought, plagues and pestilences-
By the village people were all regarded as the Sacred Dragon-s doing.
They all made offerings of sucking-pig and poured libations of wine;
The morning prayers and evening gifts depended on a medium's advice.
When the dragon comes, ah!
The wind stirs and sighs
Paper money thrown, ah!
Silk umbrellas waved.
When the dragon goes, ah!
The wind also-still.
Incense-fire dies, ah!
The cups and vessels are cold.
Meats lie stacked on the rocks of the Pool-s shore;
Wine flows on the grass in front of the shrine.
I do not know, of all those offerings, how much the Dragon eats;
But the mice of the woods and the foxes of the hills are continually drunk and sated.
Why are the foxes so lucky?
What have the sucking-pigs done,
That year by year they should be killed, merely to glut the foxes?
That the foxes are robbing the Sacred Dragon and eating His sucking-pig,
Beneath the nine-fold depths of His pool, does He know or not?

-------- 

I had a long-overdue dermatologist appointment on Tuesday, so I spent the morning doing chores, had lunch with Paul, and went out to a building that still requires masks to enter and surgical masks to see the PPE-clad doctors -- I'm not complaining, this is comforting. There was a medical student she asked permission to allow to observe, so I got mostly naked in front of multiple strangers, but she didn't find anything suspicious that needed to be removed, so it was all good. 

It finally stopped raining in the afternoon so that we could take a walk -- there were slugs everywhere instead of cicadas, for a change -- and we ate leftovers before I watched Voyager's still-delightful "Deadlock" with my usual group. Afterward, we watched Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+ and I loved it in pretty much every way -- the settings, the almost entirely female lead characters, the lesbians, the big-picture idealism. We have had some very fancy birds out back this week: 

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Poem for Tuesday and Discovery Park

Free
By Kevin Killian

Free, the price tags shiny with white-out, it’s free,
I go shopping with Dodie, the red shiny bag at Kate Spade
on Grant, let’s go into Agnes B and see how much the
shirt cost that Chris and Brian bought me

Save, long time ago I thought you could save me
I pictured a dreamy house like Elizabeth
Robinson’s, with a sunken tub, but instead I settle
for Squalid Manor, Frank O’Hara’s dull apartment

“Build three more stately mansions, O my soul,”  
I hear a voice that rings, it might be Kylie Minogue
the sexiest tomboy beanpole on the planet,
that which I walked in size eight shoes, for to

Buy the ones we saw in the window, May sun
splattering them with pixels, we saw ourselves
the two of us, and I said, Ah, what’s the matter with me,
I have nothing to look forward to

Ship of pearl, which poets feign,
Sail the unshadowed main—
The venturous bark that flings, and suddenly
the pavement tears itself apart, a lift appears

Man comes up through the sidewalk
in front of Stella McCartney store in New York
a little bit down from Joe and Charlie’s
To have seen so much, to have missed so much!

Why, next time we will do better, till our
bleeding feet spurt compassion in our hearts—
in our next life when, perhaps, we will return
as a shell on the beach and a little pink kitten,

Lucy.

-------- 

I had a very nice Monday morning because I got to meet my friend Mary at Norby's Cafe -- my first time seeing her in over a year, though she has been in the state a couple of times to visit her mom, who lives near me! She took me out for breakfast and we caught up on the things we weren't already caught up on from Facebook. It was actually my first restaurant meal in Maryland since the pandemic started! My afternoon was less exciting, laundry and busy work, then we had a huge thunderstorm that disrupted baseball viewing. 

We had pancakes and veggie bacon for dinner because Paul was in the mood to use the blueberries we picked in pancakes, then we watched The Republic of Sarah (lots of smart women, pace is unrealistically fast but the show never gets bogged down) and I talked to my college roommate about her father's upcoming birthday party over July 4th weekend. I still haven't organized my photos from the beach at Sandy Point State Park last weekend, so here are some photos from the beach at Discovery Park in Seattle a few weeks ago: 

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Monday, June 21, 2021

Greetings from Hanover

We picked up my parents in the morning and spent Father's Day in Hanover with Paul's parents, picking up lunch on the way from La Cucina, where I got stuffed shells and other people got a variety of chicken parmesan and Italian seafood, plus Paul made blueberry pie with the berries we picked this weekend. We chatted with Daniel and Adam online while there, Clair played his violin for us, and Cinda showed us some of the hats and blankets she's been crocheting to donate to local hospitals. 

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We drove home in the early evening too full for dinner, took a walk, and watched Luca on Disney+, which doesn't manage to be the Miyazaki-esque delight that it seems to be hoping, but has lovely animation of the Italian Riviera and a reasonably entertaining Little Mermaid-esque plot about a boy who lives under the sea and only wants to go to the surface (being a boy, he doesn't have to sell his soul or fall in love). The pacing is good but Pixar really needs to do better at least getting films to pass the Bechdel test.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Greetings for Father's Day

We're at the very end of bingeing Katla, the Icelandic fantasy show about a town by a volcano that's like the Prose Edda meets Pet Sematary, which has been pretty excellent, and we're taking my parents to my in-laws in the morning so I will again be brief! We had occasional spitting rain but mostly cooperative not-too-hot weather on Saturday, so after lunch we went to pick blueberries at Homestead Farm and visited the animals there, then we took a walk along the canal at Riley's Lock and saw lots of frogs and herons. I hope everyone celebrating Juneteenth with family had a glorious one and everyone celebrating Father's Day on Sunday has a great one! A few pics, more soon: 

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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Greetings for Juneteenth

Friday was my parents' 60th wedding anniversary and the federal Juneteenth holiday, so a day for celebration all around! Since Paul discovered Thursday afternoon that he would have the day off, we decided to go to the beach at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis -- a longer drive than we anticipated because of all the Chesapeake Bay Bridge traffic, but not very crowded parking lots and the water was surprisingly warm. We waded and watched boats and ate lunch on the beach! 

Then we came home and went to my parents' for dinner (delivered from CPK), talked online to my sister, and tried out the Oculus Nicole got our dad for his birthday, which was enormous fun. When we came home, we watched the Russian romance Silver Skates on Netflix, which borrows cliches from a lot of poor-boy-meets-rich-girl stories but ends up being charming, since the lead looks like Tom Holland and has good chemistry with his rebellious, intelligent romantic interest. A few pics: 

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Friday, June 18, 2021

Greetings from the Canal

Quickie because Paul unexpectedly has the day off tomorrow -- a nice surprise for us but a really delightful and long overdue occasion to celebrate the end of slavery in America, which we didn't expect to be passed, signed, and implemented so quickly -- so we're going to a park outside Annapolis in the morning! 

My Thursday was not very exciting -- got some stuff done, enjoyed the gorgeous weather, had bangers and mash for dinner, chatted with some of my fannish friends in the evening, caught up on The Flash which is so completely out of ideas that it's painful. Here are the muskrats in the C&O Canal that we saw last weekend: 

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Poem for Thursday and Seattle-Area Spring Skiing

Winter to Spring
By Irvin W. Underhill

Did not I remember that my hair is grey
    With only a fringe of it left,
I'd follow your footsteps from wee break of day
    Till night was of moon-light bereft.

Your eyes wondrous fountains of joy and of youth
    Remind me of days long since flown,
My sweetheart, I led to the altar of truth,
    But then the gay spring was my own.

Now winter has come with its snow and its wind
    And made me as bare as its trees,
Oh, yes, I still love, but it's only in mind,
    For I'm fast growing weak at the knees.

Your voice is as sweet as the song of a bird,
    Your manners are those of the fawn,
I dream of you, darling,—oh, pardon, that word,
    From twilight to breaking of dawn.

Your name in this missive you'll search for in vain,
    Nor mine at the finis, I'll fling,
For winter must suffer the bliss and the pain
    In secret for loving the spring.

-------- 

Wednesday felt weirdly quiet, which I realized around midday was because, despite beautiful weather, there was not a lot of cicada noise. It seems like we are in the final days of Brood X for this 17-year cycle, which seems sadder than it did 17 years ago when it seemed inconceivable that our kids might not be around to see a single one of the next emergence. One of my friends couldn't come to our usual Wednesday lunchtime chat because of work but it was lovely to talk to the other two. 

We went out to pick up some things at the library, to get gas, and to buy some food, after which we went for a walk and again noted the relative absence of cicadas though I did rescue a couple from the road. Then we had dinner and watched Loki, which again was awesome -- Hiddleston's performance when he finds out about Bad Things in his non-variant timeline is amazing, and my personal theory is that the Timekeepers are already all dead. in a snow mood, so from Washington's Crystal Mountain, skiiers! 

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